10 Benefits of Meal Prep and the and the reasons to start meal prep now!
We all have one thing in common – we all have to stop at some point and devote time to eating.
Even for food lovers and great cooks cooking from scratch can be too arduous after a long day at work, especially if you haven’t been food shopping or maybe you did but for some unknown reason, the ingredients in your fridge never seem to go together.
After all, after a hard day’s work don’t we deserve a break?
In truth, it is possible to have it all: enjoy healthy and delicious home-cooked meals, reach your fitness goals, have more time and spends less.
The secret? – meal prep.
If you’re still not convinced, here are 10 reasons why you should start planning ahead when it comes to your snacks and cooking your meals.
1. IT WILL BENEFIT YOUR HEALTH
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), eating highly processed food can lead to a higher risk of several pathologies.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, producers all over the world have made it their mission to come up with recipes loaded with sugar and fat that makes the body crave it more.
When you chose to eat processed food, you not only supply your body with chemicals but you rob it from legitimate nutrients that it needs.
When you prepare meals from scratch everything goes into your body and there aren’t any nasty surprises.
You’ll also benefit in other ways, such as being in a better mood and having more energy to do what you love.
2. YOU WILL SAVE TIME
Shopping, cooking and preserving meals in one shot is less time-consuming than putting together many single meals. Buying a week’s worth of food in one go, helps and saves on shopping trips. Just think of all the cleaning time and effort you’ll save with just one cooking session.
Yes, you’ll have to invest a good few hours extra upfront but you will be able to enjoy doing what you love on all the other days of the week!
3. YOU WILL SAVE MONEY
I rarely enter a supermarket or shop without a list of what I need.
This helps me keep away from impulse buying and I can then stay on track with my weekly food budget (not to mention all the money that you’ll save from food delivery services and restaurants).
On average, it is about five times more expensive to eat out than cook at home. It’ a substantial amount of money that you can save and use to reach your financial goals or to put towards your dream holiday.
4. YOU WILL LOSE WEIGHT
The easy availability of highly processed food has led to increased rates of obesity.
A study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Health suggests that people on an ultra-processed diet ate an average of more than 500 calories more per day and ended up gaining an average of two pounds over a two-week period.
In comparison, people who adopted a diet based on a minimal amount of high-processed food lost about two pounds on average over a two-week period.
From personal experience, I can affirm that getting rid of calories hidden within processed food will show on your smaller waistline.
5. YOU WILL LEARN ABOUT PORTION CONTROL
Portion control doesn’t mean you have to eat tiny amounts of food, you’re not on a diet! It’s more about content than size, i.e. what’s on your plate rather than how much.
The words ‘portion’ and ‘serving’ are often mistakenly used with the same intent but they have two distinct meanings.
While a portion is the total amount of food you eat in one meal, a serving is the recommended amount for a specific food.
For instance, the suggested amount of salmon you should eat in one sitting is 2 to 3 ounces, while the recommended intake of vegetables per day is around 2.5 cup.
Consuming the right amount of nutrients is vital to building a balanced and healthy diet. Portioning your food in the right serving sizes is important.
Putting your meals together ahead of time will make it easier to choose from different food categories (protein, fat, grains, vegetables, etc) to fuel your body with the variety of nutrients you need. It also has the added bonus of avoiding any waste.
Having said that, you’ll still be able to treat yourself every now and then with a slice of your favorite cake.
6. IT’S A STRESS-FREE CHOICE
With meal prep, you can say goodbye to the `what’s for dinner?` stress as you will have a meal to come home to. Some people decide to meal prep all their meals and snacks for each day while some others are happy just having lunch or dinner ready.
Whatever you decide, remember there is no ‘one size fit all’ approach, just whatever works best for you! Having your meal ready to be warmed-up, is one less thing you need to throw your decision-making energy to, especially at the end of the day.
7. SHOPPING FOR YOUR GROCERIES WILL BECOME EASIER AND QUICKER
Once you know what’s on the menu the shopping list is done at the same time!
No more wandering aimlessly along the aisles as you have a plan. A meal plan actually! Week by week, your shopping trip will become easier and quicker as you gather ingredients.
8. YOU WILL BECOME A BETTER COOK
Grab your chef knife as it’s time to cook! As your skills in the kitchen improve and you become more confident cooking your meal, you may find that your culinary interest blossoms beyond preparing meals.
From simple to sophisticated recipes there are no limits!
9. YOU WILL GAIN A BETTER MINDSET
When you direct your intention towards meal prep rather than following your temporary cravings, significant changes will start to spread to other areas of your life too.
When you know you eat well, you’ll find the motivation to work out, to get up earlier, to drink more water. You will want to reap the best benefits from all choices and this positive energy will affect other aspects of your life.
10. MEAL PREP IS HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS!
When my husband and I started to bring home-made lunches to work, something remarkable happened to co-workers and friends around us. Inspired by our meals, they too, one by one, began to do the same.
Your commitment to a healthier lifestyle will set a good example to all around you, which is especially great when your loved ones start to copy you too.
In conclusion, there are no limits when it comes to meal prep but lots of advantages! It can be shaped entirely to your own timetable, budget and taste buds.
You might want to read also 10 top hacks that will simplify your life.
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